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Leader Bios

Fran Besalel, President

Fran and her husband Sami met in USY. They have been members of Congregation Beth Emeth (CBE) for twelve years. Their daughters, Relle (age 22) and Tova (age 19), have learned and worked at CBE, were bat-mitzvahed and confirmed here, and enjoyed USY.

Fran chaired the Youth Committee for several years, served as Vice President of Education and Executive Vice President, and finished her first year as President at the end of June, 2019. She has been active in the Social Action, Membership, and Long-Term Planning Committees, and is a member of Sisterhood. Fran sang with the Chorale and participated as a floor gabbai during Shabbat services. What she loves most about CBE, of course, is spending time with the people!!

During the workweek, you will find her at Gesher Jewish Day School, a K-8 school in Fairfax, where she works as Director of Special Services and Instructional Coach. She enjoys being an active part of the Beth Emeth mishpacha (family).

Photo of Melissa Heifetz

Melissa Heifetz, Executive Director

I am excited for this new opportunity, which combines my non-profit management experience with my interest in maintaining and growing the vital Jewish community in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. I am especially excited to serve a congregation with such a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

In recent months, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the strategic planning team on our vision for the future. While the plans themselves are impressive, I’ve been struck even more by the sheer number of people who are involved in this process and their enormous dedication to building a strong future for CBE.  One thing is very clear…..this congregation belongs to each one of us, and, together, I have no doubt that great things are to come.

Even though I’ve been at CBE for many years, there are many of you that I haven’t met yet. Please come by, say hello, and introduce yourselves. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas! 

Melissa Heifetz was named Executive Director on April 30, 2018. She has been a member of the CBE community for more than a dozen years, and has had a long career in the non-profit sector. Most recently, Melissa was Executive Director of The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, where she was named the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce 2018 Non-Profit Executive Leader of the Year.

Ellie Klein, Religious School Director

Ellie Klein holds dual masters degrees in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Jewish Professional Leadership from Brandeis University, Hornstein Program, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her undergraduate degree is in English and Secondary Education from Geneseo College. Ellie spent 7 years in the classroom as an English and Language Arts teacher, and during that time she spent her summers staffing at Camp Young Judaea, Texas. She especially enjoyed teaching 7th grade for learners with dyslexia at The Charles Armstrong School in northern California.

Recently, Ellie has worked in educational administration and institutional leadership at The Weber School (Atlanta, GA), The Jewish Community High School of Connecticut (Fairfield, CT), and Brandeis University’s BIMA and Genesis summer “taste of college life” residential programs. Outside of the office, Ellie loves yoga, Crossfit, hiking, cooking, reading and watching “Parks and Recreation.” She tries to do all of these activities with her beloved husband, 2 children, and Havanese dog, Clyde.

Robin Cohen, Director, Beth Emeth Early Childhood Center

Robin has been working in a variety of settings with young children for over twenty-five years. She graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in Psychology and earned an Ed.M. from Harvard University in Teaching and Learning. In 2000, Robin was the founding Pre-K teacher of the award-winning Capital City Public Charter School in DC.

Before becoming the director of BEECC in 2017, Robin spent 5 years working closely with the faculty and children here as the Curriculum Developer. Professionally, no matter what the setting, she has always had a strong passion for developing and nurturing children’s intangible life skills - the invisible, hard to measure, and often overlooked skills that she sees as the crucial pulse and life-force children need in order to be successful.

Robin tells us more about her style and approach to BEECC: "Being purposeful, mindful and intentional are core values for me both in my personal and professional life. The key to what brings teaching and learning to life is making experiences and interactions meaningful. I believe that relationships and dialogue are the basis for a rich learning environment. Children have a right to have their thoughts, ideas and theories about the world around them be respected, valued, explored and made visible. This is what we aspire towards at BEECC."

Personally, Robin's greatest passion and joy is her family—her husband David and their three children. All three are BEECC alumni and now attend religious school here at CBE. 

Robin welcomes questions, thoughts, dialogue, and most of all, she welcome YOU to come see and visit us in action!

Zach Moskowitz, Youth Director

Zach is excited to fill the role of Youth Director at Congregation Beth Emeth. “I literally grew up in the halls of Beth Emeth, where both of my parents have spent years teaching at BEECC, Religious School and Chai School. From BEECC through Confirmation, Beth Emeth was my second home. I was an active member of Kadima and USY, making lifelong friends along the way. I realize all of the amazing things that our youth program did for me, and it is my goal to provide excitement, community, and a strong Jewish identity within our programs for the next generation.”

Previous to this position, Zach was Beth Emeth's Kadima Advisor for 6 years, as well as serving on the Seaboard Region staff over the same time frame. In addition to Zach’s roles with Beth Emeth and regional youth programs, he has worked as a child care professional for the past four years through the Fairfax County Program, School Age Child Care (SACC).

In his spare time, Zach is a big gamer. He loves to listen to and write music. “In fact”, he says, “it is rare to find me without some kind of music playing in the background.” He also loves to go fishing and to spend time with family and friends.

Wed, May 27 2020 4 Sivan 5780